Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
385.00 ft (117.35 m)
Trail type
2.30 mi (3.70 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Mono Lake Trail is a seldom used walking path between the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve Visitor Center building and the edge of Mono Lake. Hikers can shuttle between the two locations, or make the 2.3 mile roundtrip hike from either side.

While many visitors passing through the area often stop to take in the vast landscape and surreal beauty of Mono Lake, most stick to their cars. This trail allows visitors to walk down the lake, passing by a couple points of interest and a spectrum of vista points along the way.

Beginning at the Visitor Center, the trail begins behind the building, first wrapping along a concrete path with interpretive signs and an elevated view of the lake. The trail begins to descend on dirt - this can be muddy following wet weather conditions. Along the way are several interpretive signs, as well as a large tufa that you can walk inside, which once provided shelter to local homesteaders and ranchers.

The trail comes to an end at the Mono Lake Old Marina Boardwalk Trail, which traces the lake's edge. From here, hikers can turn around and return to the Visitor Center on a slight uphill grade.

There is no shade or drinking water located along the trail, however the Visitor Center has bathrooms and water. Dogs are allowed on the hike, but are not allowed on the Old Marina Boardwalk.

Vehicles parking at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve are asked to pay a visitor fee of $3 per adult (16 and under are free).

This trail can be combined with the Lee Vining Creek Trail, adding an additional 2.3 miles round trip to walk along the creek into the town of Lee Vining.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day use fee

Open Year-round



Lake views.



Trailhead Elevation

6,695.00 ft (2,040.64 m)

Highest point

6,695.00 ft (2,040.64 m)


Near lake or river
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Flushing toilets

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


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